National Estuary Program Grants

The goal of the National Estuary Program (NEP) is to protect and restore the water quality and estuarine resources of estuaries and associated watersheds designated by the EPA Administrator as estuaries of national significance.

Each designated NEP works to implement estuarine ecosystem-based management processes. Each NEP characterizes the priority problems in its estuary and surrounding watershed, develops a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan listing and describing actions to address those problems, and identifies partners, including lead entities, to implement the actions.

The EPA provides focused support for priority problems identified by each NEP. Examples of priority problems include the following: 1) impacts of stormwater runoff on estuarine water quality; (2) habitat loss/degradation; (3) impacts on water quality and living resources from toxic chemical, heavy metal, and pathogen contamination; (4) need to build the capacity of local public officials and managers in estuarine communities to implement sustainable land use, green infrastructure, and low-impact development best practices; (5) need to build local capacity to control and manage aquatic invasive species impacts on ecosystems, public health, and economic well-being; and (6) need to build Tribal, regional, and local officials capacity to address climate change impacts on estuarine watersheds and promote community resilience; activities that build capacity include vulnerability assessments of communities, and local development and implementation of climate adaptation strategies and programs.

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